A top federal scientist says more research is needed into possible health and environmental effects from shale gas drilling.
Dr. Christopher Portier, director of the National Center for Environmental Health, said in an email to the Associated Press that studies to date have failed to settle questions about the potential impact of shale gas drilling and the hydraulic fracturing technique being used to extract the gas.
“Studies should include all the ways people can be exposed, such as through air, water, soil, plants and animals,” Portier said in the email. His center is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
While federal and state officials are looking into whether shale gas drilling may be polluting air and surface or ground water, Portier said researchers need to look at indirect pathways to human exposure. He recommended studying “livestock on farmed lands consuming potentially impacted surface waters" and "recreational fish (caught and eaten) from potentially impacted surface waters.”